Friday, September 3, 2010

Colorful, flavorful side dish to any meal

By Helen Klein

With their glorious array of colors and shapes, you can never have too many beans.

That’s one reason I decided to reinvent the three-bean salad as the five-bean salad — that, and the fact that my son egged me on.

Of course, I didn’t really need his encouragement, because I had crisp, farm-fresh green and white beans in my crisper.

Quickly blanched in boiling water, the trimmed beans blended beautifully with a variety of canned beans from the larder — chickpeas and kidney beans, but also black beans for this recipe, though I could just as easily have used black-eyed peas, Roman beans or pinto beans.

Both the fresh and canned beans were enhanced by bathing in a light, flavorful dressing flecked with chopped garlic and tiny green shards of fresh dill. Diced sweet yellow pepper and onion added additional grace notes, enhancing both the appearance and the flavor of the finished dish.

Five-bean salad

Serves six to eight as a side dish


1/2 15-oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 15-oz. can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 15-oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 lb. green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1.5 inch-long pieces

1/2 lb. white beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1.5 inch-long pieces

1/2 sweet onion, chopped and soaked for 1/2 hour in cold water to cover

1/2 large yellow, red or orange pepper, seeded, cored and chopped

3 Tbl. olive oil

6-7 Tbl. red wine vinegar

Juice of 1 lime

1 large clove garlic, chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Combine chickpeas, kidney beans and black beans in large bowl. Set aside.

Blanch green and white beans in boiling water for five minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop them from cooking further. Add to canned bean mixture, along with chopped onion and pepper.

In a screwtop jar, combine oil, vinegar, lime juice and dill. Shake to combine.

Pour dressing over bean mixture and toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate at least two hours, but preferably overnight. Adjust flavor before serving.


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